Old-Fashioned Angel Biscuits

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Old-Fashioned Angel Biscuits

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Published prior to 2008

We're always interested in recipes that come bearing a certain assumed geographical expertise. Cheesecake from New York City. Cuban bread from Miami. Stuff like that. As biscuits are definitely a Southern specialty, our interest was piqued by this recipe from Cathy Case Emerson of Charleston, South Carolina, who wrote as follows:

"Dear P.J.— The reason I'm writing is to send you a recipe for Angel Biscuits, sometimes called Bride's Biscuits. Unlike most biscuits and quick breads, they have yeast in addition to the baking powder. I haven't seen a recipe for a biscuit similar to this in 'The Baking Sheet,' to date, and I thought you might enjoy it.

"I usually serve these with ham tucked inside. Often, for brunch, I'll make them smaller than 2 inches, using a champagne flute to cut out the biscuits. You can make them the night before, and store them till morning. These are really good for wedding or baby showers and tailgating, too."

These high-rising biscuits are crunchy on the outside, but tender and moist within. As Cathy suggests, they're delightful split crosswise and filled with a bite of ham or sausage.

As for the name—Angel Biscuits is obvious, as the extra leavening in these gives them extra "pop" in the oven, and they become "ethereally" light—like an angel. But Bride's Biscuits—this is only conjecture, but could it be that the two types of leavening also helped ensure success for the beginning (bride) baker...?

1/2 cup (4 ounces) lukewarm water
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/2 cups (10 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
2 tablespoons (7/8 ounce) sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 cup (1 5/8 ounces) vegetable shortening
1/4 cup (1/2 stick, 2 ounces) cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk or buttermilk

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the warm water, yeast and 1/4 cup of the flour. Set the mixture aside for 30 minutes. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the remaining flour, the sugar, salt, and baking powder. Cut in the shortening and the butter, mixing until everything's rough and crumbly. Add the milk to the yeast mixture, and pour this all at once into the dry ingredients. Fold together gently until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl and becomes cohesive. Sprinkle with an additional tablespoon of water only if necessary to make the dough hold together.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pat it gently into an 8 x 10-inch rectangle; it'll be about 3/4-inch thick. Cut the dough into fifteen 2-inch round biscuits. Gather, re-roll and cut the scraps, if desired; the resulting biscuits will probably be a bit tougher. Place the biscuits on an ungreased or parchment-lined baking sheet. Cover them lightly, and allow them to rise for 1 hour, or until they've increased in size by about a third. (The biscuits may be refrigerated for several hours or overnight at this point, or frozen for later use.)

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Uncover the biscuits, and place the pan in the top third of the oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The biscuits are done when golden brown on the top and bottom. Remove the biscuits from the oven and serve them hot, with butter and jam or ham and eggs. Yield: about fifteen 2-inch biscuits.

Nutrition information per serving (1 biscuit, 42g): 139 cal, 7g fat, 3g protein, 15g complex carbohydrates, 2g sugar, 1g dietary fiber, 9mg cholesterol, 237mg sodium, 53mg potassium, 31RE vitamin A, 1mg iron, 61mg calcium, 96mg phosphorus.

This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 4, Spring 2000 issue.


  • star rating 03/21/2011
  • shannon9585 from KAF Community
  • I think this recipe will be a keeper for me. I have had little luck with biscuits in the past (I can never seem to get the right combination of texture and flavor), so I decided to try this recipe since its supposedly pretty foolproof. I was skeptical as I was putting them into the oven because the dough seemed dense, but they rose beautifully and came out nice and tender. I even baked them without freezing them (didn't have time to wait) and they came out great. I froze some, but I haven't tried baking those yet. I personally thought these were more like a dinner roll than a biscuit, but they were delicious nonetheless.
  • star rating 02/06/2010
  • Cassie from Lebanon, IN
  • Best response to a biscuit recipe yet... "You made these?!" I've only attempted a few biscuit recipes, but these are delicious. I will be serving them with Turkey Chili tonight and any that are left over will be topped with some sausage gravy for breakfast. Mmmm. Wonderful. Thanks Cathy.
  • star rating 01/07/2010
  • Irene from Hopatcong, NJ
  • This is really good recipe, it is easy to follow, it can be stored in the refrigerater for use later and it even freeze well. My family loves it and is always asking for it. I would recommend it highly to anyone who wants fresh biscuits for dinner or breakfast. The only problem with the recipe is that my family like a bigger biscuit than it recommends so I just adjust the size.
  • star rating 11/10/2009
  • Shirley Boston from Ohio
  • I have made this biscut recipe a number of times and passed it along to my family members to bake. I just love these biscuts and they are super to eat with homemade apple butter. I'm so glad I found this recipe a couple of years ago on the King Arthur Flour website.
  • star rating 07/25/2009
  • Victoria from Berkeley, CA
  • Great recipe. Substituted 1 cup of the flour with 1 cup of white whole wheat flour and they turned out great. Nice and light. Since I didn't have shortening, I used coconut oil (at room temp.), which was recommended to me by a friend. Will definitely make these again soon! Later in the year, these will go great with hearty winter soup or stew.
  • star rating 02/21/2009
  • Teresa Chastain from Benton, Arkansas
  • I'm originally from Illinois and I have had this very recipe for 25 years. Never a better biscuit.